NSights Blog

Director of Commencement reflects on the wonder and joy of a very special (three) day(s)

Melisa Choroszy, a driving force behind the success of Commencement, reflects on why it is such a special day

Twenty-eight years and 50 Commencement seasons later, graduation days are the highlight of my year.

What used to be one May ceremony is now four. It takes a cast of several hundred people to make our ceremonies the very special moments that are cherished by friends and families. They are moments of joy.  They are moments when time is halted. They are moments to be remembered with pride.

My favorite moments are many. 

The morning ceremonies begin at 8 o'clock. I usually arrive on campus about just before 5 a.m. as the sun is rising. Chirping birds and empty white chairs are embedded in a sea of green foliage. I love the peacefulness of the setting and the excitement that begins to brew as the families and friends begin to arrive. 

The evening ceremonies begin at 5 p.m.  There is a quiet calm in the shade of the giant Elm trees on the quad that invites one to sit down and relax before the festivities begin.  

Before I know it, a sea of black gowns and colorful regalia fill the area.  Everyone is smiling, laughing, nervous and excited.  The women's shoes are a sight to behold: Stilettos, Grecian sandals, Espadrilles, high-heeled boots, sneakers from the next century and every color combination mathematically possible. 

The caps are my next favorite adornment.  Decorating one's graduation cap has become quite a tradition.  The Christmas lights are my favorite along with the sparkles and the glitter.  

So many graduates stop to hug me and thank me as they march up the ramp to the stage.  I am always heart warmed by the fact that on their very special day, they are thinking of others. 

After the graduates cross the stage and make their way back to their seats, they are greeted by their faculty of many years.  Endless hugs and words of gratitude can be overheard by all.  Tears can be spotted on both sides of the receiving line.   

Commencement is a time for reflection and wonder.  Captured in the face of every graduate walking across the stage are the hopes and dreams for the future for themselves and for all of us. 

Melisa Choroszy